surge of lawsuits allege that vaccinations triggered
National Law Journal
March 20, 2002
months after Joseph Alexander Counter was born in 1996, he
appeared to be progressing normally.
met all his development milestones and by the age of 20
months had a growing vocabulary, says plaintiffs' attorney
Andrew Waters of Dallas' Waters & Kraus.
Counter, at about age 1
was able to say Mama and Dada and fire truck, sort
of," Waters says. "But then he lost all of his
language and the only way he could communicate was by
was diagnosed with autism and then tested and found to
have high levels of mercury exposure. Seemingly, there was
noexplanation for this. As an infant, "Jac" --
the boy's nickname, based on his initials -- hadn't been
unusually exposed to any heavy metals. But as the boy's
parents, Joseph and Theresa Counter, began researching Web
sites and contacting support groups for parents of autism,
a theory developed.
first weeks of life onward, Jac had received all his
scheduled vaccinations, and the vaccines he received
contained a preservative called thimerosal. Thimerosal, by
weight, was 49.6 percent mercury. In May 2001, the
Counters, of Plano, Texas, sued a slew of vaccine and
thimerosal makers, charging that exposure to the mercury
in the vaccines caused Jac's autism.
Counter, at about age 4
is a neurological disorder characterized by a range of
symptoms, including social withdrawal, loss or lack of
development of language, cognitive deficits, attention
deficit traits, poor hearing, oversensitivity to light or
sound, poor eye-hand coordination, jerky movements, such
as thrashing about, or repetitive movements, such as
circling, spinning or rocking in place. The symptoms
usually emerge gradually during early childhood and will
range in severity depending on the individual.
the first case ever filed charging vaccine mercury
poisoning, the opening of what has become an onslaught of
litigation against the vaccine industry.
of lawsuits, including putative class actions, have been
filed across the country, claiming autism or other
neurological defects were caused by exposure to mercury in
more lawsuits are scheduled to be filed in the next few
weeks. At least three coalitions of plaintiffs' lawyers
have been established to pool resources and share
information to litigate these claims. Plaintiffs'
attorneys in several states are now advertising on
television and in print seeking prospective clients with
put together a war chest and are trying to get the cases
developed," says plaintiffs' attorney Michael
Gallagher of Houston's Gallagher, Lewis, Downey & Kim.
The interest from prospective plaintiffs is stunning, he
says. "We've had phone calls from several thousand
is part of a separate coalition of about 30 law firms
considering about eight to nine hundred, and we've filed
45 or so," he says. The firms in this coalition are
also contributing to a litigation fund.
attorneys are working together, Waters says, "so we
don't have to reinvent the wheel." He declined to say
how much money the firms have contributed thus far, but
adds, "it will take millions to litigate these
defendants include the vaccine makers, such as American
Home Products Corp., Aventis Pasteur Inc., Merck & Co.
and GlaxoSmithKline, and the makers of thimerosal,
including Uriach Corp. and Emerck Inc. The plaintiffs are
also suing Eli Lilly & Co., which invented the product
and promoted its use as a preservative, Waters says.
claims include products liability, conspiracy and fraud.
The suits over
thimerosal are seen by some plaintiffs' lawyers as one of
the most enticing causes of action in recent memory.
jury appeal is unparalleled," says Waters. "In
these cases, you have a small child whose whole life is
ahead of him." The child begins life normally, then
"degenerates. It's a devastating process."
result, the potential damages could be astronomical.
"You've got 10, 20, 30 millions in a life-care
plan," he says. "That's before talking about the
emotional distress or the pain and suffering."
defendants say that the litigation lacks any basis in
reality. "There is an absence of any reliable
scientific evidence" linking incidence of autism
"to vaccines containing thimerosal," says Nancy
Pekarek, vice president of corporate media relations/U.S.
for GlaxoSmithKline, which makes several vaccines with the
preservative. Following an investigation into possible
dangers, she says, "the Institutes of Medicine said
there was no harm."
a water-soluble organic mercury compound, has been used to
prevent contamination and bacteria in vaccines since about
1940. Thimerosal was and is considered the most effective
agent for preventing bacteria growth in vaccines, Pekarek
plaintiffs contend that thimerosal is directly connected
to a significant rise in the diagnoses of autism.
once was really, really rare," Gallagher says.
"The incident rate was once one in 10,000 births. Now
it's 40 per 10,000." In some areas, including
California and New Jersey, "the rate is one in 150
of thimerosal increased in the 1990s, says Kathleen Dailey
of Portland, Ore.'s Williams Dailey O'Leary Craine &
Love, as the vaccination schedule changed. Children still
received the traditional diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis
vaccine, but the newer HIB flu vaccine and the hepatitis B
vaccine were added then.
these vaccine doses, depending on the manufacturer,
contained thimerosal, thus upping the potential exposure,
Waters asserts. This was exacerbated, Dailey says, by the
reliance on multidose vials, which required preservatives
to ward off contamination. As the amount of
mercury-tainted vaccines delivered to infants increased,
the number of autism cases increased as well, she says.
possible connection between thimerosal and autism was not
suspected, however, until the late 1990s, says Lyn
Redwood, president of Safe Minds, a support group for
parents with autistic children. What set this off, she
adds, was a rider on the 1997 Food and Drug Administration
reauthorization bill that required the FDA to compile a
list of drugs and foods that contained intentionally
introduced mercury compounds.
1999, the FDA issued a report indicating that
"infants who received thimerosal-containing vaccines
at several visits may be exposed to more mercury than
recommended by federal guidelines for total mercury
news spread among parents with autistic children, says
Redwood, who has an 8-year-old son who had been diagnosed
with pervasive developmental disorder, a form of autism.
Before this, she notes, "I never would have made a
correlation between my son's disability and
months of age, Redwood says, her son Will received 62.5
mcg of mercury from three infant vaccines. The
Environmental Protection Agency's standard allowable dose,
based on the boy's weight, was 0.5 mcg, she says.
large injected bolus exposures continued at 4, 6, 12 and
18 months to a total mercury exposure of 237.5 mcg."
During his first year of life, said Redwood, her son
progressed normally. He began regressing shortly after his
the FDA's report that infants were being exposed to
larger-than-recommended doses of mercury, there was no
ordered recall. But the FDA did ask the vaccine makers to
reduce the mercury content and the companies complied,
the Centers for Disease Control issued a report based on
its study of thousands of children who had been given
study indicated that the data was inconclusive in
connecting thimerosal exposure and autism.
the news of the presence of mercury in vaccines spread
among parents with autistic children, these parents began
doing additional research, Redwood says.
particularly clicked with these parents was that the
symptoms and manifestations of mercury poisoning almost
perfectly dovetailed with the signs of autism, adds
Gallagher. "I've handled some mercury poisoning cases
and there is an amazing similarity in how this
progresses," he says.
hearing about the possible thimerosal-autism connection,
Redwood had her son's hair tested and discovered that he
had a mercury level of 4.8 ppm, well above the EPA's 1 ppm
action level for mercury toxicity.
group, Safe Minds, filed a Freedom of Information Act
request with the CDC in February 2001 seeking all
information about its research. Last fall, the group
received what it considered the smoking gun, says Safe
Minds attorney Elizabeth Birt, who's a parent of an
autistic child and an associate at Chicago's Ross &
Hardies. The CDC's research had initially found that
children who were exposed to 62.5 mcgs of mercury in
vaccines in the first three months of life were 2.48 times
more likely to develop autism. Anything over two is
considered significant, Birt says.
report never saw the light of day," adds Waters.
Instead, the researcher, Thomas Verstraeten, added more
children to the epidemiological study.
numbers brought the correlation down to 1.69 times; this
figure was cited in the final report. But, he adds, all
the children added were under the age of 2 -- or below the
age when autism is diagnosed. The researcher, Waters
asserts, was subsequently hired by GlaxoSmithKline as a
parents began gathering information, they also began
looking for lawyers. And the lawyers contacted began
sharing information. Michael Williams of Williams Dailey
co-founded and heads the Mercury Vaccine Alliance, an
organization of about a dozen plaintiffs' firms that have
been involved in filing individual lawsuits and class
actions in several states, including Oregon, Washington,
New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.
attorneys in this coalition will be attempting to get
class-certified, Williams says. Last July, Williams Dailey
filed a class action in state court in Portland, Ore., on
behalf of autistic children, contending the plaintiffs had
been damaged by exposure to thimerosal.
class action is seeking medical monitoring, as well as
recovery for injuries. There is a separate medical
monitoring class action for plaintiffs "who have been
exposed, but are not symptomatic," Dailey says. King
v. Aventis Pasteur Inc., No. 0106-05780 (Multnomah Co.,
Ore., Cir. Ct.).
and the other lawyers are eschewing the class action
approach, he says, determining that individual lawsuits
are the proper method of pursuing personal injury claims.
exact number of cases filed so far is a moving target.
Waters has filed more than 50 and is considering several
hundred others. Lyn Redwood's attorney, Michael Weathersby
of Atlanta's Evert & Weathersby, has filed her lawsuit
in Georgia and will be filing another dozen more in the
next 30 to 60 days. Redwood v. American Home Products
Corp., No. 2001V0612M (Fayette Co., Ga., Super. Ct.).
autistic children are likely plaintiffs, however, Waters
says. If a child shows symptoms from birth of autism, then
Waters will not take the case. Instead, he says, he is
looking for a child who is normal at birth, and,
generally, for the first year beyond.
have to make sure it's a regressive case," he says.
To prove regression, he adds, complete medical records are
essential; videotapes of the child before and after the
regression are also critical. "There is a typical
fact pattern," adds Weathersby. "Most have
achieved early language fluency and then it's like a
switch flips. The child becomes regressively
autistic." Boys are more likely to undergo this
transformation than girls, Weathersby says. "It's
about 4 or 5 to one. Mercury sensitivity is more prevalent
A 'TIME BOMB'
symptoms don't happen immediately after vaccination,"
adds Waters. "There is a significant latency
period," he says. The doses of mercury are cumulative
and act like a time bomb in the child. The number of
potential plaintiffs could be enormous. Waters estimates
that as many as one-third to one-half of autistic children
were injured through exposure to mercury in vaccines.
Dailey adds that mercury in vaccines could also be
connected to other neurological disorders in children.
This includes attention deficit disorder, Dailey says.
vaccines sold in the United States no longer contain
thimerosal, but the ingredient continues to be used in
vaccines sold or donated in other nations, Redwood says.
In addition, since there was no recall, vials of
thimerosal-laced vaccines already purchased are still used
in the U.S., she says.
Counter lawsuit will likely be the first of these
thimerosal actions to go to trial. It's scheduled for
February 2003. The plaintiffs have already received more
than 20,000 documents from the defendants and have
scheduled several depositions of defense personnel for
mid-April. Counter v. American Home Products, No. 15285
BH01 (Brazoria Co., Texas, Dist. Ct.).
the results of these trials, the litigation itself may
have some harmful effects on future generations of
children, Pekarek says. In Britain, she says, following a
recent controversy over the measles vaccine, fewer
children had the vaccinations and "there was a
measles outbreak in the U.K. Whenever people become afraid
of vaccines, the incidence of disease rises."
Threat to Vaccine Injury Compensation
Barely a month after CDC testimony at the June 19th
Government Reform Committee hearing revealed an
undisclosed CDC study establishing a causal relationship
between thimerosal and neuorologic developmental
disorders, legislation has been introduced to reduce
Senate Bill 2053 co-sponsored by Hilary Clinton (D-NY)
and William Frist (R-TN), makes it illegal to bring a
civil action against a vaccine administrator or
manufacturer unless a person proves physical injury and
has filed a petition in accordance with the statute of
limitations of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
The law further prohibits civil action by a parent of
third-party unless "the action is joined with a civil
action brought by the person whose vaccine-injury related
injury is the basis for the "action."
Critics of the bill say that the legislation is an
attempt to deflect the class-action suit filed in April by
the Texas firm Waters and Kraus. The suit is the first
known civil case alleging that the mercury-based
preservative thimerosal, used until recently in over 30
childhood vaccines, has caused mercury poisoning in
children. Many of the families involved in the class
action suit missed the statute of limitations for making a
claim with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program because
their child's vaccine injury was not diagnosed until after
the statute of limitations.
According to the National Vaccine Information Center,
SB 2053 "would amend the Vaccine Injury Compensation
Program in a way that would benefit drug companies and
shield them from liability. There are many provisions in
the bill but the most problematic one will stop the
ability of a vaccine injury victim to bring a lawsuit in
Senate Bill 2053 further attempts to lay claim to
surplus funds in the Vaccine Trust Fund. This money is
earmarked for compensation to parents. The bill reads,
"Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of
this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall
submit recommendations regarding how to address the
growing surplus in the Vaccine Trust Fund."
In contrast to SB 2053, is the "National Vaccine
Injury Compensation Program Improvement Act of 2002,"
HR 3741, introduced in the house by Dan Burton (R-IN) and
Henry Waxman (D-CA). This bill seeks instead to extend the
statute of limitations for vaccine injury claims, and to
ensure payment to lawyers who defend vaccine injured
There are a handful of Senators who will handle the
Frist next week. If you live in a state that is listed
please get in touch with their office immediately. If you
don't see your state listed below contact your Senator and
tell him or her to oppose this bill and to call Senator
Frist and other committee members to ask them to oppose
it. Ask them instead to support HR 3741, the Burton and
Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
James Jeffords (D-VT)
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Paul Wellstone (D-MN)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
John Edwards (D-NC)
Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Bill Frist (R-TN)
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Tim Hutchinson (R-AR)
John Warner (R-VA)
Christopher Bond (R-MO)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Mike DeWine (R-OH)
To identify your Senators if they are not on the list: www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm
To view the bill type in SB2053 once you get there: http://thomas.loc.gov/
To call them: 202-224-3121
There is an excellent summary of the bill written by
Renee Gentry of the Vaccine Injury Alliance: www.attorneyaccess.net/S2053ByTheNumbers.pdf
For more information on the CDC testimony to the
Government Reform Committee: www.house.gov/reform
on Mercury Poisoning from Vaccine
The Dallas-based law firm of Waters & Kraus
announced today that it has received documents as a result
of the discovery process in the case of Counter v. Eli
Lilly & Company, et al, currently pending in Brazoria
County, Texas that come from the archives of Eli Lilly
The documents clearly
demonstrate that Lilly's thimerosal product, the
mercury-based vaccine preservative implicated in a number
of recent law suits as causing neurological injury to
infants, was known as early as April 1930 to be dangerous.
In its apparent eagerness to promote and market the
product, in September, 1930, Eli Lilly secretly sponsored
a "human toxicity" study on patients already
known to be dying of meningococcal meningitis. Senior
partner Andrew Waters stated that, "Lilly then cited
this study repeatedly for decades as proof that thimerosal
was of low toxicity and harmless to humans.
They never revealed to the scientific community or the
public the highly questionable nature of the original
While Eli Lilly made every effort to corrupt the
medical and scientific literature, the process of
arranging to publish the results of its questionable
secret study, other researchers have provided Lilly with
numerous articles since the 1930's indicating concerns
about thimerosal and its potential hazard to humans who
might be exposed or injected with the substance.
The evidence clearly demonstrates that Eli Lilly was
advised repeatedly that their conclusions of low toxicity
were not warranted and that they failed to pass the
information on to appropriate federal and public health
authorities. The following time line illustrates some, but
by no means all, of the documentary evidence on this point
from Lilly's internal files:
1947 Article received by Lilly: "No eruptions or
reactions have been observed or reported to merthiolate
internally, but it may be dangerous to inject a serum
containing merthiolate into a patient sensitive to
1948 Article received by Lilly: "Merthiolate is
such a commonly used preservative for biologicals, plasma,
cartilage, etc., that it would seem important to determine
whether harm would result following its subcutaneous or
intravenous injection in skin sensitive individuals."
1950 New York Academy of Science article, "Mercurials
as Antiseptics:" "It (merthiolate) is toxic when
injected parenterally and therefore cannot be used in
1963 Article received by Lilly: "There is another
point of practical significance: does the parenteral
injection of merthiolate-containing fluids cause
disturbances in merthiolate-sensitive patients?"
"It is known that persons that are contact sensitive
to a drug may tolerate the same medications internally,
but it seems advisable to use a preservative other than
merthiolate for injections in merthiolate-sensitive
8/17/67 Medical/Science department requests that the
claim "non-toxic" on thimerosal labels be
deleted in next printing run.
8/29/67 Draft label changed to "non-irritating to
body tissues," nontoxic omitted.
1972 British Medical Journal reports case of skin burns
resulting from the chemical interaction of thimerosal and
aluminum. "Mercury is known to act as a catalyst and
to cause aluminum to oxidize rapidly, with the production
of heat." "The manufacturers who supply us with
thimerosal have been informed." [Thimerosal is being
used in vaccines which also contain aluminum].
1972 Article received by Lilly: Merthiolate in vaccines
caused six deaths - "The symptoms and clinical course
of the six patients suggest subacute mercury
4/27/76 Lilly responds to Rexall Drug Company's efforts
to place the following warning on Merthiolate product:
"Frequent or prolonged use or application to large
areas may cause mercury poisoning." Lilly objects to
this proposed warning, stating:
"We object to the connection of our trademark with
the unjustified alarm and concern on the part of the user
which the statement is likely to cause. . We are not aware
of any instance of 'mercury poisoning' after decades of
marketing this product. This is because the mercury in the
product is organically bound ethylmercury as a completely
nontoxic nature, not methylmercury."
1/5/82 FDA's advance notice of proposed rule making
"At the cellular level, thimerosal has been found
to be more toxic for human epithelial cells in vitro than
mercuric chloride, mercuric nitrate, and merbromim (mercurichrom)."
"It was found to be 35.3 times more toxic for
embryonic chick heart tissue than for staphylococcus areus."
1950 study showed that thimerosal was no better than water
in protecting mice from potential fatal streptococcal
"The Panel concludes that thimerosal is not safe
for OTC topical use because of its potential for cell
damage if applied to broken skin and its allergy
potential. It is not effective as a topical antimicrobial
because its bacteriastatic action can be reversed."
4/7/83 Additional language added to some Lilly labels:
"As with any drug, if you are pregnant or nursing a
baby, seek the advice of a health professional before
using this product."
1991 Lilly ceases manufacture/sale of thimerosal.
Licensing agreements demonstrate continued profits from
the product until at least 2010.
12/8/99 Lilly MSDS regarding thimerosal:
"Primary Physical & Reproduction Effects:
Nervous System and Reproduction Effects"
"Effects of exposure include fetal changes.
"Mercury poisoning may occur."
"Exposure in children may cause mild to severe
"Hypersensitivity to mercury is a medical
condition aggravated by exposure."
CERCLA Hazardous substance - toxic waste disposal.
Waters & Kraus is litigating a growing number of
individual cases across the country involving infants that
sustained serious neurological injuries from the
thimerosal contained in their pediatric vaccines. Waters
& Kraus is leading the following coalition of firms in
bringing these cases to trial.
Additional inquiries should be addressed to Melissa
Miles at Waters & Kraus (Dallas), (214) 357-6244 or email@example.com
Potential claimants should call Claire Bothwell at
Waters & Kraus (California), (562) 436-8833 or firstname.lastname@example.org
March 17, 2002
Stephen Marshall, November 20, 2002
what is shaping up to be one of the most draconian weeks since the Bush
Administration took power, Tuesday’s Senate ratification of the Homeland
Security Act leaves little doubt that corporate interests have a major
stake in the post-9/11 re-engineering of American law.
Just one day after the super-secret Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court’s decision to expand
the Justice Department’s power of surveillance over U.S. citizens,
Republican lawmakers squeezed the controversial bill through the Senate with
a last-minute promise to moderates that it would later be gutted of
“special interest” provisions, one of which shields pharmaceutical
companies from liability in vaccine-related injury suits. As it stands, the
American public will now be subject to forced immunization,
under the penalty of fine and imprisonment, without the potential of legal
recourse against the companies that manufacture them. And, while Republicans
were quick to spin the liability protection as necessary for the bolstering
of unfettered bio-technological research (in an era of potentially
nation—crippling bio-terrorism), one need only read the fine print that retroactively
limits the liability of corporations in major class action suits to see that
this is one of the most overtly cynical cases of the government’s
exploitation of the public panic over terrorism to further its political
goals and pay back blue chip corporate donors.
But, in order to fully understand the reasons for
and implications of this new legislation, we must trace the more
recent history of vaccinations and the culture of tacit federal complicity
that has, since the 9/11 attacks, sought to further entrench the
pharmaceutical interests with those of the Bush Administration and, more
specifically, in the domestic fight against terror. What emerges is the
troubling scenario of a federal government which has deliberately and
callously chosen to propel the interests of a potentially criminally
negligent corporate sector onto the very people it has been elected to
protect. Leaving us, it seems, with the now ubiquitous question: for whose
interests are they securing the homeland and at what cost to the freedom of
Stepping back to a decade before the specter of forced
vaccinations was even conceivable, evidence began to surface that pediatric
vaccinations may have some causal relationship to the staggering
rise in autism among American and Western European children. What
researchers discovered was that Thimerosal, a commonly used
vaccine preservative, contained toxic levels of mercury which could have
devastating effects on the neural tissue of young children. Alarmed by the
geometrically increasing cases of child autism in the United States (the
number tripled in the 90’s alone), a national coalition of concerned
parents and medical practitioners sought to expose the government to
scientific data proving the correlation between infant brain injury and
mercury-laden vaccine formulas. But it wasn’t until 1997, when a totally
unrelated FDA study into federal guidelines on mercury toxicity uncovered
evidence that essentially corroborated the coalition’s allegations, that
the medical establishment began to seriously question the safety of
thimerosal-laced vaccinations. Quoting from a recent New York Times
Magazine article, illuminatively titled The
Not-So-Crackpot Autism Theory:
The F.D.A. team's
conclusions were frightening. Vaccines added [from 1995 – 1999] had
tripled the dose of mercury that infants got in their first few months of
life. As many as 30 million American children may have been exposed to
mercury in excess of Environmental Protection Agency guidelines -- levels
of mercury that, in theory, could have killed enough brain cells to
scramble thinking or hex behavior.
Incredibly, despite a 1999 FDA conclusion that children
who received the recommended number of vaccinations were being exposed to
unsafe levels of mercury, the core medical establishment elevated its collective
denial to nearly psychotic heights. While some doctors preferred to
blame the environment or offer other, equally untenable, theories for the
tragic rise in autism, others simply wrote off the oversight as a clinical
error without ever turning it back to the pharmaceutical companies who had
manufactured the vaccines for public use. Dr. Neal Halsey,
chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on infectious
diseases from 1995 to 1999 (the period in which the mercury levels reached
their peak) was quoted in the same Times Magazine article:
''My first reaction was
simply disbelief, which was the reaction of almost everybody involved in
vaccines,'' Halsey says. ''In most vaccine containers, thimerosal is
listed as a mercury derivative, a hundredth of a percent. And what I
believed, and what everybody else believed, was that it was truly a trace,
a biologically insignificant amount. My honest belief is that if the
labels had had the mercury content in micrograms, this would have been
uncovered years ago. But the fact is, no one did the calculation.''
It was not until the 1999 FDA recommendation that vaccine
manufacturers “voluntarily” drop Thimerosal from their formulas that
anti-vaccine coalitions gained some political traction and public support
for their claims against the major pharmaceutical companies. But, for
hundreds of thousands of behaviorally impaired children, this realization
may have come too late. In what could well be one of the most potentially
tragic stories of the last half century, the medical establishment has acted
about as expediently as the Catholic Church in dealing with pedophiliac
abuse by its priesthood. In fact, many doctors continued to
administer Thimerosal-laced vaccinations right up until the last dosages
left the manufacturer plants. A practice that seems, at the least,
professionally negligent when you consider the volume of anecdotal evidence
and public outcry that was being leveled at the practice of giving children
"It's outrageous to
think that injecting a child with all that toxicity is an acceptable
risk," said Bernard Rimland, director of the Autism Research
Institute in San Diego. "It's also outrageous that despite such
compelling evidence of harm, the medical community would subject children
And so it is under this climate of intense scrutiny and
potentially devastating class action litigation that the Senate passed the
Homeland Security bill, with its future and retroactive liability protection
for the vaccine-manufacturing pharmaceutical sector. Just at a time when
mainstream news publications have finally begun to publicly air and
corroborate long-standing accusations of a major cover-up
by pharmaceutical companies of their guilt in producing mercury-poisoned
vaccines to a generation of child immunization patients, many of whom have
developed autism and other forms of neural damage as a result. And it may
not end there. In a radio interview broadcast after the Senate vote, Dr.
Len Horowitz, one of the leading voices for increased public scrutiny of
the pharmaceutical sector, warned:
"This legislation not
only impacts the victims of mercury poisoning, but equally guarantees that
other ongoing class action lawsuits, such as those waged on behalf of
polio vaccine recipients who developed cancer from monkey virus
contaminations, will have no legal recourse.
Nor will those affected by Gulf War Syndrome as a
result of drug and vaccine side effects, military personnel recently
inoculated who became ill from anthrax vaccinations, and claimants who
cite recent studies increasingly proving early hepatitis B vaccines
triggered the international AIDS pandemic."
Putting this all into perspective, Big Tobacco could have
learned a lot from the pharmaceutical giants.
One of the chief beneficiaries of the Homeland Security
provisions is Eli Lilly, a former
Thimerosal producer who has become the poster
child for mercury poisoning class action law suits. When executives of
Eli Lilly were interviewed about the last minute provision for a November 16
article in the St. Petersburg Times, they said they were “pleased
with the amendment but [had] no idea how it wound up being attached to the
homeland security bill.” And, while the paper did allude to the fact that
Lilly had contributed $1.6 million to congressional candidates before the
November 5 election, the most of any pharmaceutical corporation, it did not
report that Sydney
Taurel the firm’s Chairman, President and CEO was
"....appointed in June
2002 to the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, a select
group whose members were chosen to provide George W. Bush with advice on
homeland security matters."
Nor did it recount the particularly troublesome fact
that, in 1977, George Bush Sr. was made a director of Eli
Lilly, a position that was offered to him by former Vice President Dan
Quayle’s father, who then owned a controlling interest in the company. The
legacy of the Bush family’s ties to U.S. pharmaceutical interests and,
Lilly, is an exhaustive subject of research itself. Suffice it to say,
there is ample evidence for us to understand the current Bush
Administration’s desire to provide sanctuary for the company from its ever
increasing number of alleged victims. What is, perhaps, more alarming than
this blatant level of political cronyism is the little known MEHPA
legislation and the direct implications it holds for citizens and doctors
who refuse to trust the vaccines forced upon them by this government and its
allegedly, criminally, negligent pharmaceutical backers.
To backtrack, the Model
State Emergency Health Powers Act was first drafted in December, 2001.
Four days before Christmas, actually, so we can safely assume that it was
not something that was encountered with the most reassuring degree of public
scrutiny. But, as with much of the post-9/11 legislation, the Act came into
being and was swiftly endorsed by one of the Bush Adminstration's seemingly
endless entourage of white knights. In this case, Dept.
of Health and Human Services Secretary, Tommy
Thompson. In describing the new legislation, even the typically bland USA
Today Health and Science reporter Mimi Hall could not veil its ominous
A model law developed for
the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and provided to
state legislatures last year would give authorities the right to enforce
quarantines, vaccinate people, seize and destroy property without
compensation, and ration medical supplies, food and fuel in a
In other words, the worst-case-scenario interpretation of
the legislation is that U.S. citizens living in MEHPA adopting states will:
* have a mandatory
vaccination or be charged with a crime,
* get a mandatory medical exam, or be charged with a
* doctors in those states
will give the exam or be charged with a crime
* property can be seized if there is "reasonable
cause to believe" that it may pose a public health hazard... it
can be burned or destroyed and you will not have recourse or compensation.
Now, as far as the powers granted to the State Governor
under the provisions of the Act, they are what you would expect. The
Governor is granted unrestricted power to declare an emergency at his own
discretion. The legislature can not interfere for at least 60 days and, even
after that deadline, a two-thirds vote of both chambers would be needed to
block the dictatorial powers.
Since the latest reports regarding the number of states
that had passed the law were from last summer, we cannot confirm their
accuracy. But, as of late July, USA Today reported that "16
states and the District of Columbia have passed all or parts of the model
law. It has been rejected or stalled in 22 states." One of the first
states to pass it was Secretary Thompson's own Wisconsin (he was formerly
the Governor). And, as Barbara Flynn, founder of CHERUBS reported, the
criminalization of vaccine-resistors is hardly symbolic:
On February 27, 2002, the
Wisconsin Legislature passed a Mandated Vaccination/ Emergency Health
Powers Act which calls for a $10,000 fine and /or nine months in prison
for those who refuse vaccinations.
In describing the way that Federal agencies are using
monetary incentives to fuel pro-MEHPA legislation, Flynn cited this case
from her home state of New Jersey:
In an article in New
Jersey’s Daily Record on January 20, 2002, District 21 Assemblyman Dr.
Eric Munoz promised to spearhead a Rapid Mass Smallpox Immunization Plan
for New Jersey. And in the February 1, 2002 edition of the Star-Ledger we
find that the CDC (Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention) has offered New Jersey $26.8
million to "come up with a plan" by April 15, 2002.
So, as you can see, there was a very strong movement
coming from the Administration's core clinical assets for the passage of
this Act. And, as history proves, this is not the first time that the
American citizenry has faced this kind of authoritarian directive from the
medical establishment. Here is a quote from Jamie Murphy's seminal book on
Every Parent Should Know about Childhood Immunization:
In 1902, Cambridge
Massachusetts Board of Health passed an ordinance that required everyone
to get smallpox vaccinations every 5 years or pay a $5 fine. Henning
Jacobsen and his son who had both suffered severe and prolonged reactions
to the vaccine refused both the vaccine and the fine. Both were found
guilty by the Massachusetts Supreme Court and Jacobsen vs. Massachusetts
became the first and only vaccination case to reach the highest court. The
Supreme Court ignored compelling evidence that the vaccines did not work
and were dangerous.
"While we do not decide and cannot decide that
vaccination is a preventative of smallpox, we take judicial notice of the
fact that this is the common belief of the people of the State, and
with this fact as a foundation we hold that the statute in question is a
health law, enacted as a reasonable and proper exercise of police power."
Incredibly, the Supreme Court was basing its decision on
the widely held, public conception of vaccines instead of any empirical,
scientific evidence. Which can be a dangerous thing. Especially, as we have
seen, when it comes to vaccination. The new Homeland Security bill has now,
once again, pushed the debate over vaccines and their potentially harmful
effects outside of the public realm. Reacting to the news of the Senate
vote, National Vaccine Information Center president Barbara Loe Fisher
summed it up thusly:
"Several years ago the
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) commissioned the creation of the Model
State Emergency Health Powers Act which would give sweeping new powers to
public health officials. They have tried to get that law passed in every
state but have failed so far. So now they are going to go federal and get
the power they have wanted for years. This bill is a violation of freedom
in the name of protecting freedom. At the very least there should be informed
consent protections in the bill to allow exemptions to
vaccination and medical treatment for conscientious and religious beliefs
as well as quarantine protections for those who exercise them.”
In his remarks following the Senate vote, President Bush
called the new Homeland Security legislation “the most extensive
reorganization of the federal government since the 1940s.” And while there
is no doubt about the fact that he is at the helm of a verifiable
dismantling of the American socio-political super-structure – a process
upon which the citizenry seems to have very little impact - we must not lose
sight of the one physical realm that we should, at all costs, remain
If this Administration is allowed to progress,
unchallenged, with this new assault on the human right to consensual medical
treatment, we will have fallen to the status of guinea pigs... defenseless
before the poking and prodding by State practitioners with all manner of
biological technologies. If ever there was an issue that should congeal the
masses around the protestation of this ever-advancing incursion on our civil
liberties, it should form as the last barrier to that final border.
And perhaps we should begin by demanding answers to the
most basic of questions. Namely, if the vaccines are so effective, then why
are those who opt out of them considered such a risk to the immunized
populace? Especially to the extent that they are going to be criminalized
and fined? And, furthermore, if such drastic measures are being contemplated
in respect to the collective health and welfare of the U.S. population, why
can't more scrutiny and funding be allocated for an investigation into the
rise in autism among child immunization clients, as well as an entire
generation's sudden affliction of "attention deficit disorders"?
Otherwise, we may just wake a little too late from our
collective political somnambulism... but just in time to hear the benevolent
is co-founder and
Creative/Strategic director of GNN.
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